Arab League sanctions against Syria target Assad brother, senior figures

The brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, several ministers and telecom magnate Rami Makhlouf are on a list of 17 senior figures to be targeted by Arab League sanctions, officials said Thursday.

Under the economic measures agreed this week by the 22-member organization, they would be banned from travelling in the region and have any assets in Arab countries frozen, if the list is confirmed at a meeting on Saturday.

Ministers from Qatar, Egypt, Algeria, Oman and Sudan are to meet in Doha on Saturday. Other countries have been invited, but Iraq has already said it will boycott the Arab League measures.

The list includes Maher al-Assad, the brother of the president, his cousin Makhlouf, as well as Defense Minister General Daood Rajha, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar and other military and intelligence figures.

In an unprecedented move, the pan-Arab bloc on Sunday approved a raft of sanctions against Syria to pressure Damascus to end its deadly crackdown against an uprising.

The sanctions also include freezing government assets, suspending cooperation with Syria's central bank and halting funding for projects in the country.

In its most recent toll issued early in November, the United Nations estimated that more than 3,500 people have been killed in the violence that has shaken Syria since mid-March.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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